The family of one of the men accused of drugging and raping a woman who was later found dead in a hotel room in Miami is speaking out in his defense this week, saying that he is not “some monster” and claiming he was likely influenced by his co-defendant.
Evoire Collier, 21, and Dorian Taylor, 24, have been arrested in connection to the death of 24-year-old Christine Englehardt, a Pennsylvania woman who’d traveled to the Miami area for spring break. She was found dead in her hotel room on March 18. Collier and Taylor are under investigation for having possibly drugged Englehardt before raping her in a hotel room and stealing her credit cards.
Collier and Taylor, who are both from Greensboro, North Carolina, have been charged with sexual battery, burglary with battery, theft, and credit card fraud. They could face manslaughter or murder charges if an autopsy finds that the “green pill” the two men allegedly said gave Englehardt led to her death, the Associated Press reports.
As the two men await police findings while in custody at the Miami-Dade County jail, family members of one of the men have spoken out to imply that it was actually a case of one of the young men being a bad influence on the other.
Tanda Collier told the Miami Herald that her nephew was actually afraid of Taylor, who is older than him and was his roommate.
“He’s a good kid. He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” she said, adding later, “He’s an honest person. He’s gullible ... he’s not some monster. He wasn’t a predator.”
She went on to say that her family does not know Taylor very well, but suspects that he was a bad influence on Evoire — who they say told his loved ones that he was traveling to South Beach in an attempt to network and build his music career.
“He definitely was in the company of this older guy who could possibly influence him. He wasn’t hanging out with his [usual] friends,” another family friend, Adrienne Long, told the paper. She went on to describe Taylor as a “seasoned criminal.”
Court records are hazy on Taylor’s criminal history; convictions for crimes like carrying a concealed weapon and burglary are credited to someone sharing his same name and some other identifying details, while some other particulars, like the birth date on records, are different, according to the Herald.
Taylor’s family has not commented publicly on the case. Taylor has pleaded not guilty, while Collier is scheduled to appear in court for his arraignment on April 5, according to the Herald. While in custody, Collier has been placed on suicide watch, according to the paper.
Surveillance footage referenced in an arrest report state that Collier and Taylor were seen entering a hotel lobby with the victim at around 1 a.m. on March 18, and were then seen exiting the hotel alone around 30 minutes later, NBC 6 reports. Police found Englehardt, who’d traveled to Florida alone, dead in a hotel room after responding to reports of an unconscious woman; Collier and Taylor were arrested a few days later. They allegedly stole Englehardt’s credit cards and used them during the remainder of their vacation, the AP reported.
A GoFundMe campaign launched to cover funeral costs for Englehardt’s family has raised nearly $50,000 to date. Mourners are planning to gather at the Albion Hotel, where she was found, on Friday for a vigil held in her honor, NBC 6 reports.
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